Christina Kreitzer is a self-taught fiber and mixed media artist. Growing up in the Midwest with unlimited access to her mom’s baskets of embroidery floss and scrap fabric, Christina developed her love of fiber art at a young age. Currently living in Portland, Oregon, she works from a home studio, creating semi-abstract portraits using fiber, clay, and abandoned objects.
Ethereal and full of motion, this piece takes us to a semi-abstract moment in time with a Japanese ama. Ama-san, meaning “sea women,” are free-diving fisherwomen who bravely cut through deep ocean water to collect treasures like abalone, seaweed, and pearls. They make up a tight-knit community of women who are committed to upholding this centuries-long tradition. Their techniques respect and sustain sea life in a way that modern harvesting methods do not. Holding their breath for up to two minutes at a time, traditional ama-san wear only a loincloth and headscarf and carry a knife around their waist to assist in loosening the treasures.
The goal of this work is to take the viewer on a journey along with the ama, under each layer of the sea’s varied movements and colors, all the way to the bottom where the treasures live. This journey is full of diverse textures and shades, gifting us with a new view from every angle of her dive.
How does the theme ‘Biosphere’ play a role in your work?
A biosphere thrives when there is a rich mix of life forms cohesively interacting with each other, respecting the interconnected needs of all organisms. The Ama-san diver community similarly survives because of the women’s delicate yet deep personal connection with each other and their mutual respect for the underwater world. Biospheres are always changing and adapting without dwelling on a moment ago, a concept I strive to encompass in my work.